FOOD AND DRINK
Say Cheers to Beantown's Best Sports Bars
There’s always something in season in Boston. The second the last out is called in the World Series, real Boston fans flip right over to the Bruins, Celtics or, of course, the record-setting New England Patriots. As you might guess then, it’s not hard to find a good sports bar in Beantown, but here are a few of the best:
Located half-way between Fenway and the one-time home of the Boston Braves, The Dugout has been the not-so secret hangout of baseball players, boxers, sports writers, and locals for at least 80 years – possibly more if the story that it was initially built as a speakeasy is true. This is no faux-dive. Replete with gruff bartenders, out-of-date décor, slightly stale Bud on tap, and run-down furniture, this little basement hole is the genuine article. But, if you can live with the downtrodden digs, this is one of the few sports bars in the city that poured pints for icons like Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, and the entire 1980 Olympic hockey Dream Team. Bring cash, pull up a chair, watch the game, and listen to the tall tales. Some of them are even true.
722 Commonwealth Avenue, 617-547 8656
Of special interest to Bobby Orr fans (who already know which Bruins legend wore number four), this first-rate sports bar could practically qualify for a museum, given its legendary memorabilia collection. Unlike pre-fab modern sports bars, though, the Four’s has the feel of an authentic old-school Boston tavern and, as such, has played host to countless Bruins and Celtics over the years, including Larry Bird and, of course, No. 4, himself. Conveniently located across from TD Garden, The Four’s packs them in before, after, and during the games, having won over loyal fans with seriously excellent bar food and a better range of interesting beers than many sports bars.
166 Canal Street, 617-720-4455
The Bleacher Bar
Built right inside Fenway, under the bleachers of centre field, the Bleacher Bar is an absolutely gorgeous addition to the big leagues’ oldest ballpark (1912), a lush old-timey baseball bar that gets understandably busy around game time. The bar offers a fairly limited selection of ball park-inspired staples, including, of course, hot dogs and warm soft pretzels, augmented by Cuban sandwiches, brisket, and the ubiquitous New England clam chowder. But people don’t come especially for the food, since the main attraction is the giant window that looks right onto the legendary field, an absolute must for hard-core baseball fans, even in the off-season.
82A Lansdowne Street, 617-262-2424
Established in 1894 by Michael (nuf Ced) McGreevy, probably one of the most famous sports fans of all time, McGreevy’s has a mostly legit claim to the title “America’s First Sports Bar.” Originally called the Third Base Saloon, this Back Bay bar was the clubhouse for the “Royal Rooters” the vocal fans of the team that would eventually come to be the Red Sox. Unfortunately, we lost the original bar to Prohibition and the new McGreevy’s is something of an historical reimagining. All the same, it’s a pretty faithful rendition of a century-old bar, with the feel of an old Irish saloon, augmented with classic cocktails and modern pub plates.
911 Boylston Street, 617-262-0911
Battery Park Bar and Lounge
The financial district’s Battery Park Bar and Lounge comes alive for NCAA, fight night, NFL playoffs, and well, pretty much any televised sporting event. With first-rate beer and food, though, Battery Park bills itself as a chic sports bar for the discerning sports fan, not so much the kind of place for people who love to order buckets of popcorn shrimp and beer. Signature cocktails, solid local beer and decent wine are on offer to accompany the food from the New American menu of classic meaty dishes. Although always pretty lively, it’s especially great in the summer when its gorgeous outdoor bar and patio are open.
33 Batterymarch Street, 617-350-7275